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Chapter Timeline



  • The first organizational meeting was held on May 16, 1985 in Suite 400, 250 Harrison Street, Syracuse at the Law firm of Williams, Micale, and Wells. At the time, we were one of only three chapters in New York State (Suffolk, Nassau were the other two).
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York was incorporated in 1985, as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to granting special wishes to children, between the ages of 2 ½ and 18, who are living with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
  • The chapter became the 33rd for Make-A-Wish® America.
  • Service region was established as 15 counties: Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Tompkins.
  • Founding Board –First official organizational Board Meeting on May 16, 1985 were:
    • Bill Coon
    • Don Hamilton
    • Don Lawless
    • Jack Orr (deceased)
    • Lynda Sturrick
    • Susan Tormey, Board Chair
  • First Wish Granted Incorporation: Joey Edwards, 7 years old living with Leukemia, was the chapter’s very first local Wish Kid. In June of 1985 Joey took a trip to Disney World Resort to meet Mickey Mouse. In his mom’s words, “every time Joey had to go to the hospital, he asked to see Mickey Mouse.”
  • First Office: In the home of Don (Founder) and Nancy Hamilton and they are still involved today. The first office (mailing address) for the Foundation was the law firm of Williams, Micale, and Wells, located at 250 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York 13202. The first organizational meeting was held there and used the address in the early months for mailing purposes until we acquired the space in Hotel Syracuse. We also held some early meetings at Van Duyn in the Commissioner’s Board room.
  • First Public Fundraiser in the Fall, 1985, held showing of the movie “The Black Stallion” (raised $4,000) at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center Theater in Syracuse, New York.
  • Total raised from public contributions in 1985:  $9,755.


  • Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York moved into its first official office in the Hotel Syracuse, 500 South Warren Street, Syracuse, NY 13202 with phone number 315-475 WISH. Rent was $1 per year until we moved out of the hotel in 1999.
  • Make-A-Wish® Open Golf Tournament was established and held at Drumlins. Ontario Investments, Onondaga Beverage and Hafner’s Restaurant were the first tournament sponsors.


  • Syracuse Invitational Hockey Tournament approached founding member and first board chair, Susan Tormey to be an affiliated charity partner. Ken Garno was involved with the Tournament and as a result was recruited to the board and became the first Fund Raising Chair!
  • The Wish Ball was established and held in the Hotel Syracuse Ballroom. (Ken Garno, Dennis Calkins – decorated and made all the decorations)


  • 100th Wish Granted
  • December 25 and 26, 1989: The Syracuse Post Standard reporter, William LaRue, published a two part feature series entitled, “Dream Medicine Making a Wish Come True” which detailed many of the first 100 wishes granted since the chapter was incorporation in 1985.


  • The Silver Lining Ball and Silent Auction was held and generated $18,000 for the chapter. Event Chairs were Angela Mastriano, Margaret Windhausen and Lois Gridley.



  • Ken Garno elected Board Chair
  • 200th Wish Granted
  • The Burdick/Lexus Million Dollar Hole in One Shootout was held on August 21-25 at Drumlins Driving Range to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York. The Event Chair was Bill Rickett.
  • 4th annual Open (Ontario Investments) was held June 24 at Drumlins Country Club.


  • Bob “Fes” Fiesinger served as the Board Chair.
  • First employee was hired in February 1992. Diane E. Kuppermann became President and CEO and was the organization’s first full-time paid employee.
  • October 2002, Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon was established
  • 300th Wish Granted


  • Wish Kid Janet wished for a pregnant Arabian horse with the likelihood of a gray offspring. Janet named her horse Treasure. The gray fole was named Prize.


  • Bob Davidson elected as Board Chair
  • 400th Wish Granted
  • The Manager of Program Services position was created and the second full-time staff member hired.


  • Wish Ball celebrates 10th Year and was held at the Hotel Syracuse Grand Ballroom. Honorees were Susan Tormey as (First Board Chair and founding member) and Michael Bennett (owner of the Hotel Syracuse) October 6, 1995. Event Chairs were Robin Kessler and Regina Black.
  • The Manager of Volunteer Services position was created and the third full-time staff member hired.



  • Larry Schunck elected as Board Chair
  • Wish Ball 1996 was held at the Hotel Syracuse Grand Ballroom on November 8, 1996 and honored County Executive Nicholas J. Pirro and USAIR for their generous support of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York. Event Chair was Robin Kessler.


  • 500th Wish Granted
  • The Wish Sponsorship Program was created and is now called the Adopt-A-Wish Program. Board members David Allen and George Chrisogonou were instrumental in creating the program.


  • Debbie Moore elected Board Chair
  • The Annual Cindy Award recognizing Outstanding Volunteer Service was created. It is named for longtime volunteer Cindy Merriam.


  • 600th Wish Granted
  • Southern Tier Make-A-Wish® Open was established. The Shumaker Family was instrumental in its creation.


  • Frank Discenza elected Board Chair
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central New York Celebrated its’ 15th Anniversary at the Wish Ball and honored the Chapter Founders at the celebration.



  • Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York moved into MONY Towers across the street from The Hotel Syracuse.
  • Organization eliminated the wishbone as the organization’s logo and replaced with the swish and star logo


  • Virginia Biesiada O’Neill elected as Board Chair
  • Make-A-Wish® Wish Kid Calendar created
  • 700th Wish Granted


  • Jason LaManna elected as Board Chair
  • 800th Wish Granted
  • First Sugarman Law Firm Wish Ball Hosted


  • Jason Sciarro elected as Board Chair
  • Mr. Michael Falcone and the Pioneer Park Partners donated a 7,000 sq. foot building which now houses the Central New York Chapter office referred to as 5005 Campuswood Drive… Where Wishes Come True. The gift was announced on January 5, 2005, Mr. Falcone’s birthday emphasizing his belief that it is better to give than to receive.
  • 900th Wish Granted
  • Gene Armani was recruited and committed to serving as the 5005 Campuswood Drive Construction Manager



  • Joseph Maryak elected as Board Chair
  • The chapter’s first capital campaign was initiated to fund the renovation of the new building and to create an endowment for wishes and the ongoing operations and maintenance of 5005 Campuswood Drive.
  • The chapter held its first Walk for Wishes at Onondaga Lake Park


  • April 2007, the building renovation was complete and Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York moved into its new home at 5005 Campuswood Drive.
  • 1st annual Tiffany Hietkamp Walk for Wishes
  • 1000th Wish Granted


  • Robin Goldberg elected as Board Chair
  • Syracuse Auto Dealer’s Association (SADA) holds its’ 10th Charity Preview Automobile Show and selects Make-A-Wish Central New York as one of its benefitting charities.
  • 1st Southern Tier Walk/Run for Wish
  • 1100th Wish Granted


  • 1200th Wish Granted


  • Jim Ockenden elected as Board Chair
  • Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Central New York Celebrates its’ 25th Anniversary
  • Won Chapter Award for 2010 Wish Fulfillment Fund Partnership announced at the National Make-A-Wish ABLE and Branding



  • Joseph Chirco elected as Board Chair
  • 1300th Wish Granted
  • 20th Anniversary of the Ms. Orange Fan Luncheon. A women’s only luncheon for 700 Syracuse University Basketball Team fans
  • Won Chapter Award for 2011 Outstanding Fundraising Performance announced at the National Make-A-Wish ABLE and Branding


  • Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Central New York was rebranded as Make-A-Wish® Central New York by National Office.
  • Won Chapter Award for 2012 Outstanding Fundraising Performance announced at the National Make-A-Wish ABLE and Branding
  • 1400th Wish Granted
  • Diane E. Kuppermann, President and CEO celebrates her 20th Anniversary at the helm of Make-A-Wish Central New York. Diane remains as committed and as an enthusiastic as she was the day she began her journey at Make-A-Wish.
  • Make-A-Wish® Central New York recognized by national office for outstanding fund-raising performance.


  • David Ayoub elected Board Chair
  • Kids for Wish Kids co-hosts with children’s service group our first annual movie premier during February Winter Break to raise awareness and celebrate kids in philanthropy.


  • 1500th wish granted
  • Ninth staff person is added
  • Syracuse University student Rob Faugno employs “Run Rob Run,” an ultra-marathon fund-raiser that starts in Syracuse and ends at Cornell University in Ithaca. The 54-mile run raises $30,000 for Make-A-Wish® Central New York.
  • Make-A-Wish® Central New York recognized by national office for outstanding fund-raising performance.

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Make-A-Wish® Central New York
5005 Campuswood Drive
East Syracuse, NY 13057
(315) 475-9474
Toll Free (800) 846-9474